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From Start To Furnish

Please enjoy my musings on all things interior design!

How To Arrange Furniture

Aren't you tired of pushing and shoving that heavy furniture around and the room still doesn't work?  I understand your frustration but don't worry. I'm going to give you the step by step instructions on how to do it correctly to please you and yours. In no time, you'll have the room that accomplishes all of your dreams.

Step 1 for Arranging Furniture

Measure the Room

This is critical.  Don't skip this step.  You don't have to spend a lot of time on it, but get out a tape measure, a piece of paper and pencil.  Roughly sketch the footprint of the room and draw in architectural features such as doors, windows, and fireplaces.  Measure and jot down the overall width and length of the room and clearance between those features.  This may seem tedious, but a pencil is a lot easier to lift than an armoire, so do the light lifting first.



Step 2 for Arranging Furniture

Make a Plan

Make a detailed plan for everything you need to accomplish your goals for the room.  Determine the focal point (the major interest in the room).  That may be the television, fireplace or extraordinary view.  Your plan revolves around the focal point.  

Don't block doorways or passageways.  Allow for easy traffic flow through the room.  We don't want anyone to have to dodge a piece of furniture to get from room to room.  You should allow at least three feet of clear space for the areas of the room where people will walk most.  

In a large room, break up the space into one or more seating areas.  This allows for comfortable conversation and a cozier room.

Consider rugs.  Don't make them so small that they look like a postage stamp in the room.  Allow them to encompass the seating areas.  At least the front feet of furniture should sit on the rug.  This will add to the coziness of the room or separate areas.  Make certain that rugs don't interrupt the traffic areas that you've identified, so as not to make tripping hazards. 

Step 3 for Arranging Furniture

Inventory Your Furniture

Make a list of the pieces of furniture that you own and want in the room and note their dimensions.  Because you didn't skip Step 1, you'll know whether the chest of drawers will fit between the windows or whether you'll be able to navigate around the dining room table.

Tough love here.  If something is not going to work, please don't use it for this plan.  Toss it or use it another room.  Don't forget the walls.  Consider the heights of the pieces as well as their footprint.  Be certain they fit with the scale of the room.  You don't want to place anything that looks like dollhouse furniture in a large room with high ceilings anymore than you would place something too massive for a small room with lower ceilings.  Nothing will ruin the room quicker than a piece of furniture that crowds it or just doesn't contribute to the design.  

Step 4 for Arranging Furniture

Shop For the Missing Pieces 

Now you are armed with important information when you visit the furniture store.  You know what you need, the dimensions and the intended function of each piece.  Because you took the time to think through the previous steps, you can now make clearer decisions on your furnishing investments.

Step 5 for Arranging Furniture

Move In and Enjoy

NOW, is the time to call on your strong family and friends, because it's time to sweat.  Now that you have measured and planned and edited and made discerning decisions, this job won't be as difficult.  Just move everything into the spots that you planned for each.  Hang your window treatments and art.  Place a few unique treasures on the tabletops and step back and admire your handiwork.


Here is my free guide to helping you further with designing the room of your dreams.  Enjoy!